King Gyanendra of Nepal dissolved Parliament on Wednesday and ordered fresh elections after rifts in the ruling party over a proposed extension of emergency rule in this Himalayan nation.
A statement issued by the Royal Palace just before midnight said the king, on the recommendation of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, had dissolved the parliament.
The decision came after the faction-riddled ruling party refused to support the government plan to extend the emergency rule, which lapses Saturday if Parliament doesn't approve the extension into November.
The prime minister said earlier in the evening that his party's refusal to support the government had caused a dilemma and was "a big mistake."
The king imposed the emergency on Nov. 26, suppressing press freedom and giving soldiers and police the right to detain without charge people suspected of supporting the extremist rebels who have fought six years to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.
The emergency was declared after the rebels withdrew from peace talks and resumed attacks on police stations and government targets.